Thursday, December 07, 2006

Zoo Santa

Originally uploaded by The Gulde Family.
This weekend, we bundled up the kids and went to the zoo for a little pinch of their Holiday Magic (all rights reserved by Brookfield Zoo). Santa and Mrs. Claus were there, and they consented to be photographed with our children. Francis was very reluctant until Mrs. Claus gave her two floating-glitter pens.

Sally and I were discussing the lost art of the santa photo on the drive back. Sally has these beautiful photographs with santa from her youth. Sally's santa pictures are quality prints, from a time before cursed cheap photo printers. Just as important, they're artful photos: they're thoughfully composed and reasonably lit. And they're not from some fancy studio; they're the product of a department store in Lawton, OK.

The difference between then and now is apparent to anyone with eyes. At Brookfield this weekend (and at Marshall Fields last year) some poor Santa was photographed again and again under bad light, in front of an ill-conceived background, and by untrained staff who then printed the image immediately with equipment they didn't know how to use. I don't have a copy of the actual picture on flickr, but trust me, it was bad.

Santa photos used to be nice. Now they're not. Why is that? The department store in Lawton, undoubtedly hired a professional photographer to come take pictures of little Okies sitting on santa's lap. Somewhere along the way, department stores decided that digital photography and portable photo printers could replace the human photographer. The stores had incentive to replace him. Surely its cheaper not to hire a professional photographer for this gig. Not only that, but his schedule probably limited the number of hours the stores could offer santa photos.

Why not put a machine and a few button-pushers in his place? Who'll notice?


Sally said...

Whoa, whoa... spousal miscommunication here. Lawton has no such department store. Dear Lord, leave anything to Central mall in OK and trust me, they'll "Brass Buckle" it. No, no... the photos he's refering to are from when we lived in Seattle. They were taken at Marshall Fields and Nordstrom.

Justin said...

Matt, do you also find that the early bird specials at the cafeteria are getting too darn late, and are you constantly bemoaning the presence of kids on your lawn?


Fulmer Fam said...

Hahaha, I was like what? I mean I am older than Sally and I don't remember those good 'ol days and then I saw Sally's comment and was like ok, that is what I thought! Clarksville is like Lawton, so we are heading to the Green Hills mall on Monday in Nashville in hopes of the perfect Santa pic. Seriously the Santa here is way skinny and his beard does not fit his face and it is all tangled, so white trash Santa, in a good way white trash, did I just write that? Ok, enough rambling, my first glass of champagne since I was pregnant and nursing constantly, hahaha. Ok, really enough. I could keep typing, but now I am starting to annoy myself.